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Day 52: Key points from today's conference

Posted on May 2020 By Aaron Liffen

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Today’s daily coronavirus conference was led by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, who was joined by Prof Yvonne Doyle, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director for Public Health England & Nikki Kanani, Director of Primary Care for NHS England.

Today’s briefing was slightly different from usual with all questions coming from regional papers and broadcasters.

Key points to take away from today's speech are: ​​

  • Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announces there have been 649 more deaths of people who tested positive for the coronavirus. This means the UK’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll has passed 30,000. 69,463 tests were carried out yesterday, with a total of 201,101 people now having tested positive for the virus.

  • The daily number of tests dropped to 69,436, as the total remained below the government's 100,000 target. After reaching the target by 30 April and again on 1 May the number has been below the mark.

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced at PMQs earlier that he had an ambition to reach a 200,000 capacity by the end of May.

  • "We want to ensure appropriate and safe social distancing" so people have the confidence to get back to work, Robert Jenrick says. He adds that local economies will need a "plan to restart and recover".

  • Robert Jenrick says ministers will work to create more room in town centres as social distancing continues. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says the government wants infrastructure and construction to begin again - but only where it is safe to do so.

  • Dr Nikki Kanani, director of primary care at NHS England, thanks people for following government advice. She says NHS workers are working "under significant strain" and people are "looking after them" by staying at home.

  • Robert Jenrick says it is the government's "mission to ensure everything we can do is done to help people go back to work safely and to reunite friends". "On Friday we will be celebrating VE Day... we know that sadly we now need to mark this important occasion from home instead," he says.

  • Prof Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, says the UK is "controlling" the transmission of the epidemic.


  • There's a question from a member of the public who claims restarting sporting events has been "prioritised" over religious services. Robert Jenrick says ministers have been in contact with "faith leaders" about the resumption of services "when the time is right".

  • "We will stand behind them [local councils] and ensure they have the resources they need to carry out the role they are playing in our national response to coronavirus." says Jenrick.

  • Dr Nikki Kanani, director of primary care at NHS England, says it was "right" to focus on virus cases, alongside providing other forms of urgent care, in the early stages of the epidemic. She adds efforts are under way to resume normal services "as soon as possible".

To read a brief summary of last night's points and important measures click here.